VOLUMES UNDER THE SUN
Texto: Ingrid Montañes Benard
through his assumption that “less is more”. His most famous creation was the German pavilion in Barcelona, in 1929, where his love of formal purism and for a strictly geometric composition can be appreciated. It also showcases the elegance of materials such as marble, onyx, travertine...
This German architect is well known in the modern architectural movement, together with its most renowned pioneer: Le Corbusier. Throughout the 20th century the French architect built the foundations of a new architecture: modern arquitecture. It is characterised by the simplicity of its forms and its designation of space; it is a search for the essential. Thus, ornaments are considered unnecessary, and instead are enhanced the beauty of the materials, of the light and of geometric shapes taken to their extreme minimalist expression.
Le Corbusier drew his inspiration from his many travels; some of them to Algeria and Mallorca. As such Mediterranean influences are evident in his work, such as Vila Saboya in 1929. The ubiquitous colour white, simple volumes without ornaments, flat roofs, are all clear examples of how the architect absorbed traditional Mediterranean architecture. He came to know about Ibicencan architecture through the writings and sketches of his contemporaries, amongst whom was Josep Lluís Sert. This Catalan architect was profoundly influenced by the island’s architecture, and he himself left an imprint in his own designs; using white as a predominant colour, straight lines and pure geometric lines.
Ibiza has a varied and important architectonic patrimony, resulting from the different cultures that have colonised the island throughout its history. The Ibicenco house is defined by thick quadrangular walls and flat roofs supported by wooden beams. This building model belongs to a long tradition that goes back to the Middle Eastern Neolithic era. It developed in Babilonia, Fenicia, and expanded later along the Eastern Mediterranean coast. The white colour that is so typical of these houses is a response to the hot climate. In fact, white reflects 90% of the sun’s rays, allowing the house to remain cool inside. Amazingly, as well as beautiful, Ibicencan houses were already bioclimatic!
These hundreds of years old houses have since been the source of inspiration to other great architects, including Walter Gropius and Erwin Broner. All of them were amazed when confronted with the modernity of this traditional architecture. The latter, a German painter and architect, moved for good to the island in 1959. In his works, such as a house in Sa Penya and another in Santa Gertrudis, he was able to combine traditional architecture with more modern elements. More recently, we can talk about Carlos Ferrater. This architect from Barcelona manifests his new vision of traditional architecture in works such as Tagomago house, in 2001.
Architects like the above-mentioned knew how to see and appreciate the beauty of an architecture that meets human needs and has a constant dialogue with nature; an architecture whose splendour comes from the search of the essentials. It’s fascinating that, even 600 years later, architecture continues to reflect the world that surrounds it in this same way. That is what we do with minimalistic architecture; we look for the essentials in the depth and shape to create someone’s own space in which every wall counts - creating volumes under the sun.